Demand for self build plots deliberately downplayed by many local authorities
Many local authorities are failing to register demand for self build plots, and in some cases are actively making it harder for people to show their interest in building their own home.
New research by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has found that since April 2016, 40,000 people have signed up to the Right To Build registers across England. Although impressive, NaCSBA believes this is far short of the real underlying demand for self-build plots.
Its research shows that while in the first year of the registers very few local authorities placed restrictions on joining, the number has now risen to more than one in four. These restrictions include local connection tests and charges to join and remain on registers.
NaCSBA argues that local connection tests must only be applied where there is a strong justification and in response to a recognised local issue. Charges must be on a cost recovery basis but currently range from £50 to £350 as a one-off charge and £150 for each year.
In many cases there are strong grounds to challenge this approach which NaCSBA believes is effectively creating a postcode lottery as well as a domino effect by shifting activity to those councils which continue to maintain open registers.
NaCSBA plans to raise its concerns with the government.
NaCSBA chair Michael Holmes said: “NaCSBA has deep concerns that, rather than meet the demand for custom and self build homes through the granting of planning permissions to match demand, some local authorities are instead seeking to minimise the number of registrations.”
NaCSBA urges those wanting to build to sign up to the register at www.righttobuild.org. If they feel the charge to do so is too high and refuse to pay, it suggests they write to the head of the council asking for their aspirations for a plot to be considered within the council’s planning policy. NaCSBA can help with this if they contact email@example.com.
19 December 2018